In today’s pass-happy NFL, there is an expectation that QB success equals team success. So when you get a player like Jimmy Garoppolo, he can be extremely hard to explain.
In five-plus seasons with the 49ers, his stats aren’t eye-popping. Garoppolo has completed 67.6 percent of his passes for 13,093 yards, 77 touchdowns, and 42 interceptions. But his 35-17 record as a starter speaks for itself.
Pare that down, however, and the numbers get even stranger. Garoppolo has the highest winning percentage of NFL quarterbacks with at least 10 starts since 1950 — If you only factor in the version of Garoppolo who doesn’t throw a touchdown pass. And the number of times that’s happened isn’t insignificant. The 49ers are 10-2 in those games, putting the winning percentage at .833.
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There is some sense to be made from this. Teams that ask less of their quarterbacks tend to enjoy some success. But Garoppolo ranks ahead of overall winning percentage leaders Otto Graham, Patrick Mahomes, Daryle Lamonica, and Tom Brady when he doesn’t throw a TD pass.
Highest career winning percentage as starting QB since 1950 (regular season & postseason, min. 10 starts):
.833 – Jimmy Garoppolo when throwing 0 TD passes
.792 – Otto Graham (overall)
.783 – Patrick Mahomes (overall)
.766 – Daryle Lamonica (overall)
.759 – Tom Brady (overall)
— OptaSTATS (@OptaSTATS) November 14, 2022
This stat was bolstered by the 49ers’ 22-16 win over the Chargers on “Sunday Night Football,” in which Garoppolo was 19 of 28 for 240 yards, no touchdowns, and no picks. A Jimmy G Special.
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Garoppolo, 31, was replaced as a starter by Trey Lance before the season. When Lance fractured his ankle in Week 2, however, Garoppolo was thrust back into the starting role in surreal fashion after an offseason rife with speculation about his future with the team.
Clearly, the team doesn’t want to ask too much of him from the starting position. And as the numbers reflect, perhaps that’s for the best.
The 49ers are now 5-4 on the season, a half-game back of the Seahawks in the surprisingly humble NFC West. They will play the Cardinals next week on “Monday Night Football.”